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Affordable and Mass-Producible Nuclear Safeguards for Homeland Security

Wed, May 3, 2023, 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Featuring: Dr. Will H. Flanagan, Affiliated Research Assistant Professor, University of Dallas

You are cordially invited to attend a lecture on the topic of

Affordable and Mass-Producible Nuclear Safeguards for Homeland Security


Dr. Will H. Flanagan
Affiliated Research Assistant Professor, University of Dallas


Wednesday, May 3, 2023
5:00-6:00 PM EST


The Institute of World Politics
1521 16th St NW
Washington, DC 20036Commodore Barry Room – Marlatt MansionGetting to campus



About the Lecture

In the nuclear era, a single weapon snuck through a border is able to significantly shift geopolitical balances. In 2007, Congress mandated the use of radiation detectors on all inbound containers but there is currently no way effectively meet this goal. Nuclear safeguards exist at all major ports of entry, though they are not always able to scan every item of cargo.

Cerium Laboratories is addressing one aspect of this problem by producing a semiconductor-based “neutron intercepting system on a chip” (NISoC). Such detectors are made a modern semiconductor fabrication facilities in batches of 10,000 with a cost of a few dollars per device. This has the potential to shift nuclear safeguards in a direction where a detector can be placed on every inbound container ship. The current status of this effort will be discussed as well as future prospects.

About the Speaker

Dr. Will Flanagan received his undergraduate education at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Lured from astronomy research by the fascinating connection between cosmology and particle physics, he began doing Large Hadron Collider (LHC) phenomenology at Texas A&M through a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) internship. Dr Flanagan later returned to Texas A&M for his PhD, searching for dark matter at the CMS experiment along the LHC beam line. His hitchhike through the field of particle physics has included various neutrino experiments as well as development of novel particle detectors. Dr Flanagan’s current focus is developing a solid-state neutron detector with Austin-based Cerium Labs. The team recently completed a short journal publication and is actively developing future prototypes with applications from nuclear nonproliferation to hydrogen exploration.

Before joining Cerium, Dr. Flanagan was an assistant professor at University of Dallas and remains an affiliate professor there with an active lab. Dr. Flanagan is also a member of the Texas Army National Guard as is currently activated to teach physics at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

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